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UPDATED: Hearing Set for April 27 in ABQ in Challenge to LANL Plutonium Building

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Watchdog group’s federal lawsuit seeks to halt the building until an environmental impact statement is done

A watchdog group is going to court in its attempt to halt a multibillion-dollar plutonium building at Los Alamos National Laboratory until the government does an environmental study.

The Los Alamos Study Group wants a preliminary injunction to prohibit all further funding of the Chemical and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility.

U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera will hear arguments from the organization and the U.S. Department of Energy on April 27 in Albuquerque.

Herrera also will hear a motion from the government to dismiss the group’s lawsuit.

The complaint, filed last August, alleges the Energy Department and its National Nuclear Security Administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act by preparing to build the facility without a new environmental impact statement.

The project consists of two buildings. The first, a radiological laboratory and office building, is finished. Construction has not begun on the nuclear facility.

The DOE said the new building is necessary because the current 60-year-old structure is outmoded.

The government’s lawyers argue the NNSA already completed an extensive environmental review of the building, which led to a November 2003 environmental impact statement. Construction was approved in a record of decision in February 2004.

The study group, however, contends the building’s design was changed without notice, and the nuclear facility now bears little resemblance to the initial proposal.

The government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit says the design was modified later because of new developments and information. But, they argued, the purpose of the project has not changed.

The lawyers also said the study group’s challenge is moot, since NNSA will prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement with an eye toward another record of decision.

There’s no exact cost figure for the project, but a 2008 Senate report estimated it at $2.6 billion, more than five times the initial estimate. A final design is in the works.

 


Friday, 15 April 2011 14:52

 

A watchdog group is going to court in its attempt to halt a multibillion-dollar plutonium building at Los Alamos National Laboratory until the government does an environmental study.

The Los Alamos Study Group wants a preliminary injunction to prohibit all further funding of the Chemical and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility.

U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera will hear arguments from the organization and the U.S. Department of Energy on April 27 in Albuquerque.

The group’s lawsuit, filed last August, alleges the Energy Department and its National Nuclear Security Administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act by preparing to build the facility without a new environmental impact statement.

The project consists of two buildings. The first, a radiological laboratory and office building, is finished. Construction has not begun on the nuclear facility.

The DOE says the new building is necessary because the current 60-year-old structure is outmoded. Lawyers for the agencies have argued the lawsuit should be dismissed. That motion is pending.

The study group, however, contends the building’s design was changed without notice, and that the nuclear facility now bears little resemblance to the initial proposal.

There’s no exact cost figure for the nuclear facility, but a 2008 Senate report estimated it at $2.6 billion, more than five times the initial estimate. A final design is being worked out.

 

 


 

Friday, 15 April 2011 13:01

 

A federal judge will hear a motion later this month in a lawsuit by a watchdog group that seeks to halt Los Alamos National Laboratory’s multibillion-dollar plutonium building until the government does an environmental study.

The Los Alamos Study Group is seeking a preliminary injunction to prohibit all further investment in the Chemical and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility until the impact statement is prepared.

U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera will hear arguments from the organization and the U.S. Department of Energy in Albuquerque on April 27.

The group sued over the project last August.

The lawsuit alleges the Energy Department and its National Nuclear Security Administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act by preparing to build the Nuclear Facility without a new environmental impact statement.

 

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